Career fair offers job opportunities

Over 40 companies, organizations and campus group representatives attended the first “Experience This” Career Fair, held Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bayramian Courtyard. Companies and organizations ranging from Disney, NBC Universal and Target stores to the Marine Corps, Cabrillo Music Theatre and the Engineering Department’s Human Powered Vehicle Team assembled in the courtyard to give students the opportunity to find more about internships.

Jan Potzman from the Career Center said that applied learning is when a student takes what they learn in class and applies it at a work-site. Among those invited were those that offered internships that would allow students to “get their feet wet,” as well as professors seeking research assistants, organizations looking for volunteers and companies offering internships or job shadowing.

The Career Center invited companies and organizations that were already listed in their database, but also expanded their reach to include local groups, organizations that had students or alumni working for them and other groups with interest in coming to CSUN. Emily Hagan, a graduate assistant at the Career Center, said that the center focused on inviting groups that would help student fellowships and other forms of applied learning.

Most organizations were open to students of all majors and years, though a few specific organizations, like Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer, were primarily seeking engineering students interested in seasonal internships or The Cabrillo Music Theatre, located in Thousand Oaks at the Civic Arts Plaza, was at the Career Fair because they sought “anyone with an interest in the arts,” said Lewis Wilkenfeld from the theatre. The theatre is a non-profit organization with available internships, jobs for students after graduation and those interested in community service.

“The theatre is a place for people to express themselves,” Wilkenfeld said, and people can do that in a number of ways, whether it’s through sound and music mixing, design, hair and makeup, or even volunteering for some of the theatre’s “Adopt A School” programs, where schools are invited to live performances at the theatre, or the performers go to the schools and perform. The theatre tries to create an environment where anyone who has an interest in the arts can have a place, Wilkenfeld said.

Disney also came to CSUN, through the Disney College Program, which has made presentations at the Career Center in the past. The Disney booth was one of the most popular at the fair, open to all majors and featuring 18 areas where students can intern at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim. While the Disney College Program has existed for several years, it has only been at the Disneyland Resort for the past two. The company is actively recruiting students interested in a paid internship at the Anaheim resort. For those that missed the fliers available at the fair booth, the Career Center will be hosting a Disney College Program presentation on December 4 at both 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Career Center in University Hall.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car was also at the Career Fair, seeking students with communication skills and an interest in learning how to manage a business from the ground up. A.J. Perez, Enterprise’s recruiting supervisor, says that Enterprise offers both summer and winter internships that give students the opportunity to multitask in the areas of customer service, sales, marketing, accounting and inventory management.

“It’s important to recruit locally to reflect the local diverse environment,” said Aren Burd, the regional recruiting manager for the North Los Angeles region. “As a university, CSUN is incredibly diverse and has just the variety of students that Enterprise Rent-A-Car seeks,” Burd said.

While those majoring in business programs are the best candidate for the Enterprise sales and management program, students who enjoy working with others and learning about the hierarchy and growth of a business are also welcomed to apply.

NBC Universal was also a highly popular booth at the fair, recruiting for both internships and post-graduation employment opportunities. Employment in any form at NBC Universal requires working knowledge of the entertainment industry for which NBC is best known, but there are over 200 positions available in each of the fall, spring and summer semesters in a number of areas.

Giselle Ruiz, the campus relations specialist for NBC Universal, said that CSUN is an ideal location to recruit students at since it is only 15 minutes from the studio and has a “great demographic” of students. NBC encourages students to apply to the academic credit-only program and then they will be matched up to the area suited to their interests, major or future career track. Internships have the potential to turn into entry-level positions and then later into full-time positions with NBC Universal, Ruiz said.

Target was also at the event, hoping to recruit students for its 10-week paid executive internship program, which places students in a local Target store and has them learn all about how the multi-million dollar company runs. During the second half of their internship, students are asked to come up with a project to improve or report on an aspect of the store, and present it to the executive board at the end of the term. Ideal students come from a variety of majors, but those with strong leadership qualities who are team-oriented are preferred.

Target provides a “positive working environment where you invest time in growing as a leader,” said Alicia Hwang, an executive team leader with Target and a former intern with the program herself. The program is offered in the summer from May to June, though very strong candidates may also be considered for fall or spring internships.

Brian Bamuhaira, a senior health administration major, didn’t know about the event until he saw the booths and balloons decorating the Bayramian courtyard, but he was pleasantly surprised by the opportunities available.

“There were plenty of opportunities for upperclassmen,” he said, including Kaiser Permanente and the American Red Cross.

The event wasn’t just aimed toward junior and senior students though, many freshmen or sophomore students had the opportunity to ask questions about job shadowing, on-campus opportunities or one to two-day volunteer events through the Matador Involvement Center, which also had a booth at the fair.

Beyond on-campus clubs and organizations, the Matador Involvement Center also seeks to make students aware of the number of volunteer programs and non-profit sector opportunities available for students, said Beatriz Trejo, the activities coordinator for community and volunteer involvement. According to Trejo, working in the non-profit sector is “the best way to grow as a professional.” Trejo also wanted to help dispel some common myths about volunteering and working in the non-profit sector, as well as answer any questions that students had about the programs the Matador Involvement Center knows about.

Overall, there was a “good variety” of opportunities available at the career fair, said Amy Ross, junior multimedia production major. Megan Coates, a junior theatre major, said that she found out about the fair from both email and a postcard that seemed tailor-made for her major, pointing out the companies relevant to her interests that would be at the event.